Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Stand with us or it will be YOU next

Over the last several days to a week, I have seen many of my friends post to Facebook about the recent HHS decision and "like" other friend's posts on the same.  Sometimes I read the comments from my friend's friends and follow the conversations for and against contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion.  The more I read the more I realize that people are missing the real issue.

What is the issue?  Is it the right for individuals to have access to free birth control?  Is it the about whether you can use your insurance coverage to get an abortion?  Or is it the right to be able to sterilize yourself from the "danger" of a future pregnancy?

No, no, and no.

If you work for a private company and your insurance coverage wants to pay for these things for you and you want to use them, then fine.  I may not agree personally, but that is the right of your company's insurance provider.

The issue is about the government (i.e. the state) mandating that a faith-based organization (i.e. the church) cover procedures and medications that said religious organization is opposed to.  Thus, the state stepping in to mandate the church do something contrary to the church's beliefs.

Hmmm!  Doesn't that sound like a "separation of church and state" issue.  I sure hope so, because that is EXACTLY what it is!

For us Catholics this is a matter of religious freedom and a policy that goes against our moral convictions.  For everyone else, this is a matter of the separation of church and state.  Maybe this mandate does not affect you and you don't care that Catholic employers (schools, hospitals, charitable organizations, colleges and universities) will be forced to comply with this mandate or close their doors.  Whether the specific mandate affects you specifically or not, the issue affects all of us.

If this administration feels that it can pass a mandate that does not allow for a comprehensive conscientious objection (there is an exemption, but it is extremely narrow) and thus go against the "separation of church and state" that has been a part of this nation's foundation since the beginning, then they can pass future mandates that will affect other religious groups as well.

Your religious liberties may not be threatened at this time, but if a precedent is set you may find yourself in the same position as Catholics are in now.  Stand with us: sign the petition the St. Michael's Society has put together, write to your congressmen and representatives, and let your Catholic friends know that you support them in fighting this mandate.  Next time it could be you and your religious liberties.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
They they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
                                           ~Martin Niemöller

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